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Crimson Dynamo

Iron Man: Armored Avenger
by yo go re

Dear every company: stop making toys of this armor!

The mighty electrical powers of the Crimson Dynamo are enough to short out even hardened military hardware. Even Iron Man, as well protected as he is, watches as system after system fails under the shocking assault. Once the Armored Avenger falls, the Crimson Dynamo will be free to turn his supercharged weaponry on anyone who opposes him.

Crimson Dynamo was originally going to come out in Marvel Legends 13, but didn't make the final cut - all we ever saw of him was some promotional control art, not any kind of physical sculpt. This figure, meanwhile, was sculpted (by Jay Kushwara) for the first Iron Man movie line, but that ended before it could be released; it finally came out in the Iron Man 2-spinoff Armored Avenger line - only about half a decade later than he might have.

This armor first appeared in Iron Man #316, piloted by Valentin Shatalov. Apparently the designer heard "Crimson" and thought "Communist," then thought "China," and then got China confused with Japan, because this armor looks more like a samurai than anything else. It's the silver crest on the forehead that does it - that and the big shoulders.

Colonel-General Shatalov was introduced in Iron Man #255, and he was wearing the armor everyone thinks of when they think of Crimson Dynamo - he got this new suit when his government instructed him to go up against the rogue Titanium Man. It's a nice enough design, with an asymmetrical band running over one shoulder, across the back, and onto the top of the other shoulder; three shapes on the back that appear to be thrusters; a big round "fusioncaster" on his chest (his version of Iron Man's unibeam); overly ornate '90s boots and gloves; and of course the ubiquitous banded metal that serves as "skin" in so many comics. So yes, nice design, but not particularly Russian.

Of course, maybe the reason we feel that is because this is the first Crimson Dynamo armor that wasn't solid red. The Mark V is merely mostly red, with a black stripe down the stomach and over the head and face, and silver for the limbs. Oh, and orange, for the eyeslit, but that's not really a break with Crimson Dynamo tradition. Would being all-red have made this design more acceptable? There's no saying. I definitely would have helped with the paint on this toy, however: it's suffering the fate of all semi-metallic paint jobs, where the silver areas (particularly the forearms and head-wing) are absorbing the colors around them, and are thus sporting a slightly purple tint.

Like all the Armored Avenger toys, Crimson Dynamo comes with a missile launcher. The back of the packaging identifies it as a "launching 'electricity' blast!," but it's just a trans orange projectile we've seen before in a launcher we've seen before. Better to have it be a separate piece than something built into the toy, though.

It's entirely possible that this figure is not technically Crimson Dynamo. During the fight with Titanium Man, Valentin Shatalov was injured and unable to continue; recognizing that it would be too embarrassing to have an American rescue Russia from her rogue hero, Shatalov convinced Tony Stark to wear the Crimson Dynamo armor into the fight, so it's entirely possible that this is a (very) alternate Iron Man armor. Either way, this is a really nice figure - probably better than one released in Marvel Legends 13 would have been.

-- 03/16/15

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